The Navy’s first trimaran Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Independence (LCS 2), began Builder’s Sea Trials in the Gulf of Mexico July 2, 2009. LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission ship designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 417-foot Independence is designed and built by the General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship team. Builder’s trials test the vessel’s propulsion, communications, navigation and core mission systems, as well as all related support systems. Following the completion of builder’s trials, Independence will prepare for acceptance trials that will be conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey later this summer. Independence will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly. These mission packages focus on three mission areas: mine counter measures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. LCS 2 is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy later this year and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif.